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FCC: Key parts of broadband plan in flux after court decision

The Federal Communications Commission said Wednesday that it is committed to overseeing Internet services, but that a loss in a federal court earlier this week hinders its ability to carry out some key policies related to its national broadband plan.

But the FCC didn’t say what it would do to correct that.

“The Commission must have a sound legal basis for implementing each of these recommendations,” wrote FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick in a blog post. “We are assessing the implications of yesterday’s decision for each one, to ensure that the Commission has adequate authority to execute the mission laid out in the [broadband] plan.”

Schlick tried to minimize the effect a U.S. appeals court decision would have on most of the dozens of broadband proposals the agency presented to Congress on March 16. It can still make airwaves available for mobile broadband networks. It can foster innovations to TV set-top boxes that would promote competition and bring broadband services to television. On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled in favor of Comcast, which argued against sanctions placed on it by the FCC in 2008 for violating open Internet principles. That decision cast into limbo the agency’s ability to regulate broadband services.

“The Comcast/BitTorrent opinion has no effect at all on most of the broadband plan,” Schlick said in his post. “Many of the recommendations for the FCC itself involve matters over which the Commission has an express statutory delegation of authority.”

But he also said key aspects of the plan to bring affordable broadband connections will be hindered. Those include goals of bringing broadband to low-income and rural areas and getting those communities to adopt the technology. Experts say the FCC may not be able to convert a $8 billion phone subsidy to be used also for new broadband networks after the court’s decision. Cybersecurity efforts to protect broadband users, consumer protections on speeds and prices, and privacy are also removed from the agency’s jurisdiction after the court case.

By Cecilia Kang  |  April 7, 2010; 5:57 PM ET
Categories:  Broadband , FCC  
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Next: Comcast ruling victory in short term, raises questions for future


Continued misleading, false, and biased coverage from Cecilia Kang, "Google's reporter at the Post." The truth is that the court removed no authority from the FCC; it merely observed that the Commission did not have that authority in the first place.

Kang, however, favors onerous Internet regulations -- wanted by her patron and sponsor, Google -- and therefore is motivated to portray the decision in as bad a light as possible.

In fact, the decision is a good thing. It prevents a Federal agency from overstepping the bounds on its authority that were set by Congress, and requires that Congress specifically authorize anything that's not within that authority. This will give the people a chance to be heard, which is the way democracy should work.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 7, 2010 7:34 PM | Report abuse

So Comcast has the authority to commit fraud by pretending to be the peer we are connected to and sending us "kill" messages so that our systems drop the connection?

The problem wasn't just that Comcast was throttling P2P connections, it was that they were throttling the connections by committing a form of identity theft. I don't want my ISP sending packets of information that APPEAR to come from my computer but in fact come from the ISP.

Without proper regulation, the internet as we know it will come to an end. Websites will be treated like channels, and in order to access them you'll have to pay for "packages" of websites. The internet was never meant to charge fees for different types of data. In fact, it was specifically designed so that the "network" would only need to know the source and destination, and NOT what kind of data was being transported.

Posted by: paulflorez | April 8, 2010 12:29 AM | Report abuse

Paul, you're incorrect. Comcast was using an extremely effective and VERY COMMONLY USED technique to limit bandwidth hogging and stop other forms of network abuse. In fact, every computer which runs the UNIX or Linux operating system has this technique built into it. It's certainly not "identity theft."

The Internet has prospered for 26 years without regulation, and the regulations which are being proposed are not in any way "neutral." They represent the corporate agenda of Google, which wants to get a leg up on competitors and on ISPs. They'd raise prices, choke off investment, kill innovation, and hobble broadband deployment and competition.

It's good that the Court noted, correctly, that the power of Federal agencies is not unlimited and must be delegated to them by Congress. It would have been terrible if Google had gotten its way. Now, the people will have a say.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 8, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Brett, the hateful racist disgusting stalking game you play on this forum is just so tired. It's abusive, and just plain wrong. What is wrong with you? Have you no soul?

But I guess it makes sense in light of all the allegations going around about you and your stalking behavior and other legal run ins concerning children and people who disagree with you.

Get some help, please. And WaPo, do what so many other websites and email lists have done, and BAN HIM FOR LIFE already.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 8, 2010 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Ah, yes, the "hateful, disgusting stalking game" that the comment troll "AmyBandini" plays -- claiming that anyone who critiques Ms. Kang's reporting is a psychotic, violent child molester. Is "AmyBandini" Ms Kang herself or a confederate, I wonder?

Posted by: LBrettGlass | April 8, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

see Brett, you just don't get it. I come here to provide some counterweight to your trolling, and you leap to the accusation that I am Ceceilia. You are mad at me for my alleged "libelous" comments, but you don't get the irony in that said comments are always made in response to your fantasies and accusations that everyone is either a lobbyist for Google or a lobbyist period.

Did it ever occur to you that I am a retired Grandmother who used to work in this industry? Or that Amy Bandini is in fact my real name? You yourself posted as "squirma" here for a while before you were outed as Brett Glass.

Seriously, I'd feel no need to come here and tell the world about the alleged allegations about you if you yourself would just keep it civil. But instead, you sit around all day (a work-free lifestyle provided to you thanks entirely to the FCC's regulating of your special access rates and their gift of free spectrum) trolling on this and other blogs. Your comments are substance free, paranoid, and often consist of dehumanizing behavior of people you've never met.

It's sick. You dehumanize good people, yet get defensive when it's done to you. Shame on you son.

Posted by: AmyBandini | April 9, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

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